Tag Archives: Alan Doane

Legislators on Committee Who Blocked Medicaid for Montanans ALL Take Government-Funded Health Insurance

hypocrisy meterThe members of the House Human Services Committee who used a rules bait and switch trick  to block health care for 70,000 working poor Montanans paid for by the federal government each willingly except two years of health care paid for by us the taxpayers.

It’s a point that’s was made both by Governor Bullock  in his state of the union speech and by that the Billings Gazette editorial made this past week in their support of Governor Bullock’s Medicaid expansion was that Montana taxpayers spend $887 per month on health insurance premiums for each state employee and for each of the 150 lawmakers who choose to be on the state health plan.  You can see the entire list here. “Waived opt 2″ means they accept a cash stipend (paid for by you and me) to pay the bill for the insurance they get through their job, spouse, or parents.

Rep. Stephanie Hess, Rep. Lawrence Redfield, Rep. Art Wittich, Rep. Kirk Wagoner, Rep. Doane, Rep. Bill Harris, Rep. Forrest Mandeville and Rep. Vince Ricci all accept it and are Republicans on House Human Services committee who voted “do not pass” on HB 249 on Friday, March 6th. Rep. Seth Berglee and  Rep. Al Olszewski accepted the cash stipend from the state and voted “do not pass”.  So all of the legislators (all are Republicans) on the committee that voted against the Healthy Montana Plan accept Montana taxpayer funded health insurance.

Attached is the 2015 list of legislators who are on  Montana taxpayer funded healthcare.  You can download a PDF list here to see if your legislator is on it: 2015 Legislators Benefits and PERS FOR MT PUBLIC.

You’ll note that also on the list are Nancy Ballance, who claimed that adults who don’t have a disability with no children living at home (like herself) should not get government-funded health coverage with her HB 455.  And Fred Thomas, chair of the Senate Public Health Committee.  And Cary Smith, who is sponsoring Senate Bill 148 which he claims will “reform” Medicaid (which to him simply means kicking tens of thousands of people out.)  Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen is on it–so is Senate President Debby Barrett. And readers of this blog (and anyone who has been on the internet ever) know that the Americans for the Prosperity of the Koch Brothers front man Joe Balyeat took taxpayer funded healthcare when he was in the legislature.

Isn’t it interesting that we never hear them complaining about how much their insurance costs the taxpayer, how it will “crowd out” services for people with disabilities, how it will harm funding for schools and roads, how much their insurance will cost us 10 or 55 years from now, or other such nonsense.


A Citizen’s Guide to Who’s Fighting Medicaid Expansion in the MT Legislature

I had a chance to watch the hearing for the Healthy Montana Plan bill, HB 249,last night and could not help noting both few opponents showed up and the type of opposition they offered.

More than 250 Montanans stood up to support Rep. Noonan’s bill, carried on behalf of Governor Bullock, many who had driven hours and stayed for the entire 6 1/2 hour hearing.   It was one of the most incredible hearings I’ve ever watched.

Among the remarkable occurrences, Rep. Ellie Hill (D-Missoula) gave a letter of thanks to everyone who came to support the bill–something I’ve not heard of anyone doing before, but which delighted a few tipsters.  I’m also told Rep. Jessica Karjala (D-Billings) took her seat wearing a blue Healthy Montana “#70000 Can’t Wait” t-shirt, the same kind which were worn by many supporters, who stood in line to testify for at least 2 hours of the 6 1/2 hour hearing to share their incredible stories and to speak out for Montanans in need.

There are two out-of-state groups who are spending big money to make the Montana legislature think the public is opposed to expansion, when really even the most conservative polls have Montanans supporting it by a 20 point margin. Out-of-state money can buy radio ads and post cards, but it can’t come anywhere close to real grassroots support.  And so, it is not surprising that out-of-state astroturf groups weren’t able to come up with much in the way of actual people to oppose the Healthy Montana Plan in the hearing.

Here’s who Americans for Prosperity and the Florida Foundation for Government Accountability was able to convince to speak against Medicaid expansion in Montana:

GFTPP IRS ProtestPresident of the Helena TEA Party, Ed Argenbright.  Ed regaled the legislature at length with his views on federal school funds and the “strings” they supposedly came with.  He did not elaborate on what the strings were and why he was worried about them.  HB 249, as you probably know, has nothing to do with school funding. Perhaps nobody told him.  Apparently, Argenbright was once superintendent of public instruction 30 years ago, in the 80s.


Annie BukacekAnti-abortion crusader Annie Bukacek, of Kalispell.  Bukacek is a fundamentalist and former AFP spokesperson who was probably brought to the hearing because she has been, at least at some point, a licensed physician in the state of Montana, albeit with a religious twist.  Her clinic, which has since closed down, was called “Hosanna Healthcare.”  She was also investigated for federal health care fraud, but she claims it was because she prayed with patients. (So much for the TEA Party GOP’s supposed concerns about fraud and abuse in health care.)

Ms. Bukacek appears to have delivered false testimony before the Montana Legislature during the 2011 session. On January 21, 2011, Bukacek testified before the state Senate Public Health Committee in favor of SB-161, a bill to nullify federal health care laws, and cited “statistics from a 2010 Investor’s  Business Daily article based on a survey  by the United Nations International Health Organization.”

The article and study she cited then do not even exist, actually, nor does the organization she cites.  In fact, this non-existent study is one that right wing activists have been citing across America, in hearings, in articles, on websites. But it’s a big canard, according to the Center for Public Integrity.    There is neither a study nor even a group called the United Nations International Health Organization.

Americans for Prosperity Paid Staffers. For some reason, perhaps because their ranks were few, AFP sent two paid staffers to oppose the same bill.  One was Henry Kriegel, who a couple of years back was caught on tape admitting that AFP is primarily funded by two Kansas billionaires, the Koch brothers, as you can hear here:

Before working for AFP, Kriegel was a self-appointed Tea Party leader in Bozeman, who was once was busted by the IRS for failing to pay a fortune in income taxes (somehow he got a bankruptcy court to let him off the hook on a large portion of it) and with this qualification under his belt went on to lead the Montana chapter of Americans for Prosperity (the group that gets its money from the Kochs).  From that perch, he has spoken out frequently about the need for tax reform.  Yep.

LT. Col. Robert Welzel, of the Flathead (Retired).  This individual  is the leader of a Chuck Baldwin influenced prepper patriot group in the Flathead. Welzel also leads this Facebook group, which is full of racist posts.  He’s also said some pretty terrible things himself.

Welzel says he is “sick and tired of hearing about Trayvon Martin and even more sick and tired of hearing about how white Americans are racist.”  The truth, said Welzel…wait for it…is that “race does make distinctive differences between us and some of those characteristics might actually make some superior over others.”

He says he has “never personally met or personally know any racists who are Caucasian. After living in both New Orleans and in Memphis, I have met and know racist, but I regret to inform you that the only racists I have ever met have been black.”

He says voting is worthless because “2012 proved that the ballot box was totally ineffective…because a Kenyan was elected for a second term.”  He calls for everyone to stop paying taxes because “honestly, the alternative is armed conflict which would be much costlier.”

 Doing so [ceasing to pay taxes] starves the beast and very clearly communicates not only our resolve and our commitment, but immediately quantifies to the federal government our extreme displeasure. Is this extreme, you bet it is. But make no mistake, war would be worse. Just exactly where is your line in the sand? What abuse do you need to suffer before you’re willing to stand for freedom? Some things are worse than death, and Communism is one of them. BETTER DEAD THAN DEM!

Next was Gina Satterfield the lead singer of a local Helena band called Mabel’s Rage, whose testimony included the statement “Every child is controlled by the Obamacare of Education” and discussed her believe that this was some kind of conspiracy to indoctrinate kids to something – it wasn’t clear what.

From the band’s website:

WARNING! If you are to be a potential fan of Mabel’s Rage it is required to arrive at our shows prepared and be well equipped with straightjackets, rope and gaffers tape (no sticky residue) to restrain from out of control hand and foot tapping, dangerous dancing and grinning with infectious laughter. Armed with original songs that keep you moving to their addictive beat and lyrics that provoke free thought and tell amazing stories, this band is a jewel. From the politically charged “America (You’ve Got Change)’ to the neo-spiritually charged, “Mikey Says,” this band’s fresh, new material keeps you interested throughout.


But in spite of the fact that there were 20 supporters for every opponent,  Republicans on the committee refused to do the right thing and instead made a motion for an “adverse committee report.”  This “adverse committee report” means the bill is exempt from being eligible to use one of 6 silver bullets democrats had negotiated – an agreement that 6 bills could be debated on the floor after a vote of 50 legislators.  If an adverse committee report is put on the bill by a GOP committee, the silver bullets don’t apply.

If you would like to contact the members of this committee who did this and ask them why, you may do so by clicking here: http://leg.mt.gov/css/Sessions/64th/legwebmessage.asp  or by emailing them with the addresses below.

Wittich, Art (R) Rep.Art.Wittich@mt.gov
Wagoner, Kirk (R) kirk@kirkbwagoner.org
Berglee, Seth (R) Rep.Seth.Berglee@mt.gov
Doane, Alan (R) alandoane@midrivers.com
Harris, Bill (R) bharris@midrivers.com
Hess, Stephanie (R) Stephhess28@gmail.com
Mandeville, Forrest (R) Rep.Forrest.Mandeville@mt.gov
Olszewski, Albert (R) Rep.Albert.Olszewski@mt.gov
Redfield, Alan (R) redfieldhd61@gmail.com
Ricci, Vince (R) rep.Vince.Ricci@my.gov

GOP Legislature Releases Mandatory Dress Code, Modesty Standard for Women

GOP also decrees:  Don’t get caught in fleece, jersey, or open-toed sandals

The TEA Party House Republican leadership of the 2015 legislature has issued a new edict, the first of its kind that I have seen.

Because they love freedom and personal liberty, they’ve issued a formal mandatory dress code for anyone who seeks to be allowed into the House floor.  Besides demanding “business formal” dress, the new decree calls on women to mind their necklines and skirt lengths.   House GOP leadership are empowered to police the new edict.

This important policy is written in all capital letters, of course, because what else would you  expect from world-class leaders.

Since this new dress code is not particularly clear, the Cowgirl Blog has provided a handy guide below.   After all, the dress code is not just for legislators but also for “LEGISLATIVE STAFF, MEMBERS OF THE MEDIA, INTERNS AND AIDES” who  “MUST ALSO ABIDE BY THIS POLICY IF ON THE FLOOR WHILE THE BODIES ARE GAVELED INTO SESSION.”

Once you see what’s in the dress code, it’s clear it is targeted at women–and probably reporters.  After all, reporters are really the only people who can access the house floor besides the legislators’ own staff–and a handful of high school “pages.”  Last session, reporters were required for the first time to get special permission or “passes” to be on the House Floor at all.  Then the next thing we know, the senate president is looking into evicting the Associated Press from its capital office. Now this. But let’s get right to the dress code. There are eight rules in the edict, however, rule #6 was not released and we must presume it is being kept secret for some reason.

UPDATE:  GOP Speaker of the House Austin Knudsen is now  blaming his staffer for the dresscode, as you can see in the Bozeman Chronicle article that just came out.

First,  women are ordered to be “SENSITIVE TO SKIRT LENGTHS AND NECKLINES.”

(No similar guidance was provided to men to be mindful of tight or sagging pants and hideously short eagle-carrying-an-assault-rifle-in-its-beak neckties.)

The dress code also bans leggings. The legging ban may be a dig at the young women of Skyview High School who are fighting a dress code policy that unfairly targets young women in Billings.

So leggings are out, as are open toed sandals.  However, under this dress code concealed carry holsters under beige suits with bolo ties would definitely be okay –at least once the legislature passes the obligatory “concealed carry for everyone” bill the TEA Party introduces every year. 


Next, I see that “FLEECE AND JERSEY (SWEATSHIRT) MATERIAL ARE NOT CONSIDERED “BUSINESS FORMAL.”  Somebody needs to tell the dudes that wrote this that jersey and sweatshirt material are two entirely different things, but alas until then the rule stands.  Jersey tops like this are banned:

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While this polyester number as shown on former TEA Party Sen. Joe Balyeat is just dandy:



It also appears that men and women are required to wear suits, or suit jackets at all times or, for women  “a suit-like dress” may be worn, whatever that is.  Unfortunately, that means some of the clothing worn by GOP lawmakers in their own official legislative photos does not meet the new code.

This attire on GOP Rep. Christie Clark is now banned:

christy clark 2

Rep. Christy Clark (R-Choteau)

Also banned would be any reporter who showed up to help inform the public dressed like this – as cardigans have been nixed:


While this garb (the closest thing I could find that might resemble the item supposedly known as a “suit-like dress,” and which ceased to be made 30 years ago) would be allowed:


suit-like dress


The dress code also specifies that “JEANS OR DENIM MATERIAL, INCLUDING COLORED DENIM, IS NOT ALLOWED.”  Which means the apparel worn by TEA Party Rep. Nancy Ballance would be banned:

Nancy Ballance


No mention is made of Colonel Sanders ties, but this must be an oversight and I expect further guidance on this Montana Legislature wardrobe staple soon (shown on former TEA Party Rep. Alan Hale).


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But it when it comes to requiring respectful behavior, there are some who would say this dress code appears to be geared more toward cracking down on women than on respectful behavior from men.

(I mean, it certainly would make everyone happier if men were more sensitive about the length of athletic shorts worn at the house/senate basketball game and if all Looney Tunes and Tasmanian devil ties were burned – but the dress code makes no mention of these.)

Instead of forcing backward modesty standards on women, here are some guidelines that the 64th Legislature would do better to adopt:

1. Legislators shall not refer to women as livestock, farm equipment, or household pets – and when debating a bill on breast cancer prevention, shall not berate their colleagues for supporting the “boob bill.”

2. Legislators shall take a breathalyzer test before they are allowed a vote, since they seem to think drug tests should be mandated on poor families.

3. High school pages shall be allowed to learn about the legislative process and not relegated to fetching 57 ice-cream sandwiches a day while being ogled creepily.

4. Legislators shall stop trying trying to hide their actions and true plans from the public and the press.

Bozeman Chronicle reporter Troy Carter tweeted a reaction from House minority whip Rep. Jenny Eck (D-Helena) this morning.  Eck said dems had nothing to do with the dress code.

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Reforming Gun Laws, Montana Republican Style

by Cowgirl

It might surprise you to hear this, but right-wing Republicans actually agree with President Obama that America needs a radical change in our gun laws.  It’s just that they have a different idea of what those changes should be.

In the Montana Legislature this month, in the wake of the Newtown tragedy and a scourge of national gun violence, Montana Republicans have moved quickly to introduce a series of bills to deal with what they believe is society’s most pressing gun problem: it’s not easy enough to shoot someone.

There are dozens of proposals, each one stupider and sillier and more childish than the next. Here are few of my favorites:

First is a bill to change our concealed weapons laws. In Montana, concealed weapons may not be carried in churches, schools, banks, bars, colleges, hospitals and a few other specified areas.  Republicans have proposed a bill to eliminate these restrictions completely.

The author of the bill, House Bill 304, is none other than the state chair of the House Judiciary Committee.  A police officer showed up to a hearing to testify against it, saying he’d “never seen a bar fight that ended well with a concealed weapon.” The Republicans were unfazed by this testimony and are moving forward with the legislation. There’s also a companion bill, House Bill 384, that specifically addresses the injustice suffered by high school students who are denied the right to bring rifles and shotguns onto school grounds. The bill would forbid school officials from punishing such students.

Keep in mind that these are the same lawmakers who proposed Senate Bill 279 which was a bill to allow legislators to carry guns–both concealed and open–in the state capitol building last session.  Apparently they think that this will make the capitol a safer place.  I’m sure the many government employees who work in the Capitol will feel secure in knowing that a few crusty old Republican men–who start drinking at 10 am and spend the rest of the day snoozing at hearings or ogling high school pages–will serve as a security force in the event the building is attacked.

And if you think Republicans do not believe in guaranteed access to healthcare, think again.  A few GOP legislators have just introduced House Bill 459, a bill to guarantee the provision of medical care–to anyone who is armed.  The bill makes it a felony to deny someone health care if the denial is based in any way on the fact that the person is in possession of a weapon, and refuses to answer the doctor’s question about said possession.  Said another way, this bill ensures that you can bring a weapon to your doctors office, and the doctor may not ask you to leave the premises if you refuse to answer the doctor when you are asked “is that bulge under you clothing a concealed weapon?” It also forbids pediatricians from asking other questions about guns that they routinely ask, about whether the parent owns weapons and, if so, whether the parent is safely storing them in the house, out of reach of the child.

These legislators should themselves seek out a pediatrician, because they are overgrown children who somehow became legislators.

There are many more such bills, including:

HB 302 by Rep. Krayton Kerns would prohibit state enforcement of any federal ban on semi-auto firearms/magazines

 HB 215 by Rep. Edward Greef declares the Winchester rifle “The gun that won the west.”

HJ 5 by Rep. Jerry O’Neil amends the U.S. Constitution to prevent President from entering into any arms treaties that infringe on gun rights.

LC1639 by Rep. Scott Reichner would prevent local governments from restricting firearms.

HB 27 by Rep. Ted Washburn would allow the use of silencers when hunting “large predators,” while

HB 205 by Krayton Kerns would eliminate the prohibition on firearm sound reduction devices in the field altogether.

HB 240 by Rep. Cary Smith seeks to allow guns on college campuses.

HB 468 by Rep. Alan Doane would encourage manufacture of ammunition in Montana to ensure availability.

HJ 3 by Rep. Jerry O’Neil calls for an amendment to the US Constitution which “gives the states the right to make whatever guns they want so long as [firearms] stay inside the[sic] own borders.”

SB 304 by Rep. Roger Webb would establish a “firearm protection act.”

HB 292 by Rep. Randy Brodehl would revise laws related to pawn shop stolen gun procedures


MT Republicans Reload with Wacky Gun Bills

Ted WashburnRepublican leaders are scrambling to prevent party members from discussing their new wacky gun proliferation ideas in public, but that hasn’t stopped GOP lawmakers from trying to pass them into law.

Already, Montana legislators are introducing what appear to be some of the exact same bills that went down in flames last session. We’ll know more when the drafts of these bills are made public, but here’s what’s out there so far:

Rep. Ted Washburn (R-Bozeman) is again proposing to legalize hunting with silencers.

Rep. Krayton Kerns (R-Laurel) is bringing back the bill to allow anybody to carry a concealed weapon around without a permit.  (He’s also brought back the bill to give local sheriffs authority over the federal government in terror investigations.)

Alan DoaneAnd new Rep. Alan Doane (R-Bloomfield) wants to “Encourage manufacture of ammunition in Montana to ensure availability.”

This is only the beginning.  The legislative session doesn’t even start until January 7.